A few days ago I mentioned that I really truly believed I was going to be cooler this go around when it came time for Losing Streak to make its way into readers’s hands. And then it started inching closer and I realized, wait. No. I’m still that twitchy girl prone to pacing and pulling at her hair. Part of it might be my social awkwardness/anxiety. I’m never quite sure what to do when the attention is on me. I’m basically a Ricky Bobby:
With Wild Ones and Bri, I was nervous because I knew my girl was not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea. I knew I was presenting a dysfunctional, messy relationship with a dysfunctional, messy heroine and that heroine had no desire to change her ways. Not everyone was gonna be cool with that. And while that was okay, I had accepted it, largely in part to sage words from my editor, it still made me nervous that no one would be okay with her. Or worse. No one would even pick her up. God, that would suck, right? To do this thing and no one, not one single soul, gave a single shit.
But people did, they loved her and they hated her, and my nerves settled some. I realized that even when my ranking sucked, I was still proud, so bloody proud, of that book and Bri. I told a story that was important to me, with themes and issues and arcs that felt necessary for me to tell. And I settled in to write Rosie’s story, the companion to Bri’s, and in the telling, I started writing it in the blood of my heart. And then halfway through editing, that went from merely blood, to blood and guts.
Because while I was working on my second round of line edits, my father-in-law died.
I’m not going to tell you this pretty story about how Losing Streak saved me from my grief. Losing Streak did no such thing. From the moment I got the word my father-in-law had taken his last breath, Losing Streak felt like I’d woken up in the middle of a surgery, while the surgeons’s hands were still deeply inside my body, and I sat up and began to rip out my own organs alongside of them. I didn’t hurt. I didn’t bleed. I came apart. I edited with tears streaming down my face. My stomach ached with each pass. Life was imitating my fiction and it broke me with every single word. When I handed those pages back to my editor, I did so with shaky hands covered in my blood, tears, and grief heavier than anything I could remember. I was proud of Bri, but I pulled Rosie from my soul.
And now she’s out in the world, kinda: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/50481
And I’m saying all this not to say be gentle with us. I will, forever and always, believe that readers and reviewers should absolutely always say exactly what they want. They should feel how they feel about a book, no matter what the author says about that book. I’m saying all this to say this book is special to me in the sense that I broke myself in pieces to write it. That Rosie’s story has bits of my soul scattered amongst the pages. I’m nervous for you to read her. I’m pacing because her story intertwined with my own in ways I didn’t predict and it feels a little like being vulnerable in ways I haven’t quite been before.
But I want you to read her. And I hope you do. And while I hope, oh God, do I hope, you like her, I’ll be honored for you just to pick her up. Skim her pages. Because she was forged in fire, my girl. My fire. My hurt and my anger and my loss. I dedicated it to the man who allowed me to borrow from his story, then left before I could complete it.